When it comes to maintaining health, scientists are discovering the body's internal timer has a powerful and profound influence on our physical and mental wellbeing. Doctors have even coined a name for the treatment of illnesses according to the time of day chronotherapy.
Follow our guide to the best time to take your tablets, get medical treatment and give your body a workout.
3AM THE BEST TIME FOR ARTHRITIS DRUGS
Waking up to take drugs is not practical so doctors often advise taking a delayed release version of the steroid drug prednisolone before bedtime.
6AM TO 7AM TAKE YOUR PILLS FOR OSTEOPOROSIS
One of the most commonly prescribed drugs for the bone-wasting disease osteoporosis is Fosamax (alendronic acid). However, unlike many other medicines these tablets should not be taken with food because they do not dissolve easily in the presence of oils and fats. Patients should always take them at least 30 minutes before eating breakfast and only with plain water.
7AM TO 8AM WEIGH YOURSELF AND CLEAN YOUR TEETH
Step on the scales first thing in the morning before eating or drinking to learn your real weight as the stomach is unlikely to have had any food for around 12 hours. However remember that if you had a lot of alcohol the night before the dehydrating effects will make you appear lighter.
Yet in the long run the calories in alcohol will help to pile on the weight, not shift it. Some dental health experts also recommend brushing your teeth before breakfast. Acid in foods can soften tooth enamel and brushing straight after eating can actually do more harm than good.
8AM TO 9AM HAVE A CHOLESTEROL TEST
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease but getting an accurate reading can be difficult. Doctors currently recommend fasting for 12 hours before a blood sample is taken to test fat levels as this is thought to be the amount of time the body needs to digest food in the system and clear out any fatty particles from the blood. This helps produce an accurate reading of both types of cholesterol, the 'good' high-density lipoprotein and 'bad' low-density type.
9AM TO 10AM EAT A CARBOHYDRATE SNACK
British scientists recently discovered that eating a carbohydrate snack such as a crumpet, cereal bar or handful of raisins at mid-morning while also reducing the amount of fat eaten at breakfast helps to reduce the risk of 'metabolic syndrome'.
10AM TO MIDDAY HAVE SURGERY
Research suggests that the risks around surgery vary according to what time of day the patient is operated on. Mornings are the best time to have an operation according to researchers at Duke University in North Carolina.
MIDDAY TO 1PM TAKE PAINKILLERS
The right time is crucial when taking pills to ease the agony of arthritis, where wear and tear destroy the cartilage that acts as a shock absorber for the body's joints.
1PM TO 2PM EAT A MEAL
If you're exercising regularly the best time to eat is about two or three hours before you start, ideally around lunchtime.
2PM TO 3PM DRINK COFFEE
Research suggests the best time to benefit from coffee's pick-me-up powers might be after lunchtime, especially between 2pm and 3pm when the body's metabolism slows right down.
3PM TO 4PM BEST TIME FOR ASTHMA MEDICINE
Millions of people take inhaled steroids every day to ward off bouts of wheezing and asthma attacks.
4PM TO 5PM CLEAN THE HOUSE
Airborne allergens such as pollen and house dust mites can be a major problem in households where family members suffer from runny noses and asthma.
5PM TO 7PM DO SOME EXERCISE
Scientists who studied 4,800 patients over five years found their lung function peaked at around 5pm. Your hand-eye co-ordination will also be at its best so now is the time to try some exercise
7PM TO 8PM TAKE YOUR TABLETS FOR HEARTBURN
Heartburn is caused by powerful hydrochloric acid found in our stomach juices that breaks down food. However if acid leaks back up into the gullet it can cause pain and nausea.
Symptoms are often worse at night when the body is lying flat in bed. Many sufferers are prescribed drugs called proton pump inhibitors which lower acid production.
8PM TO 9PM HAVE YOUR LAST CUPPA 9PM TO 10PM HAVE A WARM BATH
The heat from the water helps muscles to relax after the stresses of the day while the steam makes it harder for cold and flu viruses to breed in your nasal passages. However your body needs to be able to cool down properly before you can get to sleep.
10PM TO 11PM TAKE YOUR STATINS
An estimated seven million people take statins to lower cholesterol. Doctors usually recommend swallowing them late at night.